Blue Mountain geothermal, Nevada’s Solyndra?


A geothermal power plant in Northern Nevada is struggling to produce enough energy to repay its construction debt, raising concerns that it could be the second DOE-backed start-up to fail.

The New York Times on Sunday reported that Nevada Geothermal Power, like California-based Solyndra, is struggling with debt.

The Department of Energy distributed 28 loan guarantees, worth a total of $16 billion, before the program ended last Friday. Nevada Geothermal received $79 million (plus $66 million in other federal grants) and Solyndra, $528 million.

The comparison appears to stop there.

Solyndra has shuttered, filed for bankruptcy and is under congressional investigation. Nevada Geothermal is looking to boost production at its Blue Mountain geothermal plant and restructure a high-interest loan that it is repaying.

“The Blue Mountain power plant is up and running, generating clean, renewable power and has been consistently making its loan payments on time and in full,” company spokesman, Dan Leistikow, told the New York Times.

Still, a recently released financial report from the company stated that there is “considerable uncertainty” about the prospects for increasing power production or restructuring its loans.

The Times report also focuses on Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., for having “taken the nascent geothermal industry under his wing” but adds that the Nevada project also had the backing of Republicans.